Cramming a whole party’s worth of ingredients into an already full fridge can be a physically impossible task. If you’re cooking a big meal in a tiny kitchen these holidays, temporarily evicting the non-essentials will give you all the fridge space you need to stay on top of prep.
This idea comes from yesterday’s NYT Cooking video with cookbook author and small kitchen owner Alison Roman. The whole thing is worth a watch for menu inspiration alone, but my favourite part was this genius fridge management tip: the day before you start cooking, move your least relevant and most spoilage-resistant fridge contents into a cooler or Esky.
Stick to preserved and/or fermented items like pickles, jams, jellies, miso paste, hot sauce, fish sauce, mustard and soy sauce, all of which will be absolutely fine in an insulated container for 24 hours — no ice needed. If you’re anything like me, this will free up a significant amount of real estate. Then, once the leftovers have been thoroughly picked over, you can put everything back in the fridge where it belongs.
With all your condiments out of the way, you’ll suddenly have plenty of space for a 6kg ham leg and all the sides. “It’s going to make you feel like you have so much more space and breathing room—and not make you feel like an insane person when you go to put stuff in your fridge,” Roman says. And honestly, when it comes to holiday meal prep, that’s pretty hard to beat.